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February 17, 1993

Electromagnetic Fields and Circadian Rhythms-Reply

JAMA. 1993;269(7):868-869. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03500070048021

In Reply.  —I appreciate Dr Schwartz's comments and would agree that the effects of power frequency EMFs on human behavior are important to study. However, I would disagree that the effects of EMF on human circadian rhythms are "well-documented." There is only one existing report of such an effect, that cited by Dr Schwartz, ie, the work of Wever conducted on humans and finches in an underground bunker, first published in 1973 and recently reviewed by Wever.1 The human work has never been replicated, either by Wever or by anyone else. A recent attempt to replicate the observations on finches, conducted in the same German bunker under conditions identical to those used by Wever, failed to show effects.2While there is work suggesting that EMFs do affect circadian rhythms in rodents,3 one must be cautious in extrapolating these results to humans. For one thing, the exposures used